I’m about to travel around ALL of France: What should I see and who should I meet?

Where would you go if you could go anywhere in France?

Incidentally, this is the exact dilemma I’m faced with. Well, we can hardly call it a dilemma, can we? But it’s what I’m facing.

Would you run with the wild horses in Camargue? Fly a hot air balloon above the fortified city of Rocamadour? Swim beneath the arches of the Pont du Gard?


These are just some of the options that I’m contemplating in the lead up to my trip around France – which will incidentally be season four of The Earful Tower, the Honeymoon Season, the Amour de France.

On August 15th, 2018, I’m going to jump on my little red scooter in Paris. My wife of two weeks will jump on the back.

Together, we will head north towards Chantilly, where we will spend the first night at The Courtyard Chantilly. And from there, not much is really decided.

Here’s what I do know.

Because it’s a honeymoon, we’re obviously going to travel in a vague heart shape, as you can see in the picture below. We will travel in an anti-clockwise direction. So, Normandy and Brittany first.

amour de france (1)

Because neither of us are wealthy, we’re going to keep it fairly cheap (so if you’ve got recommendations for places to visit, please don’t go too expensive).

Because our rental lease is up in Paris, we’re in no rush to complete the heart shape – as we don’t have a home to return to. It will take at least six weeks, likely more.

Because we don’t know France that well, we’re very happy to hear your tips and suggestions for the route. Do you remember visiting an amazing little village in Provence? Do you know an author in Bordeaux who would make a great podcast guest? Do you own a chateau somewhere that has a spare bed?

In any case, I will share regular podcast episodes as always, blog posts on Facebook, and some pics on Instagram – but the most fun will be behind the paywall for the Patreon supporters of The Earful Tower. That’s where I’ll do all the live videos and bonus content.

Why would I charge supporters for this stuff? Well… I’ve gotta refill the fuel tank somehow…

Absolute definite destinations: 

August 15th: Chateau exploring in Chantilly.

August 25th: Making galettes in Saint-Brieuc with a bonafide Breton, Fabien.

September 1st: Seeing Angers with Diane from Oui in France.

September 5th: Living French village life in Verteuil-sur-Charente, pictured below.

Sep 10th: Bordeaux highlights, hosted by Mike from Bordeaux Expats


Absolute possibilities:

Anything and everything in between. I’ve got my eyes on Giverny, Deauville, Bayeux, La Rochelle, Ile de Re… and then everything onwards from Bordeaux. We can think about that in a month.

So the big question is: What should I see and who should I meet? Leave comments below, email me, get in touch! Now is the time!

Now is incidentally also the time to sign up on Patreon, it is via your membership that this trip is possible. Thanks to all current members, and to any who join up too!

First episode: Monday August 13th wherever you get your podcasts (and below). First day of the trip: Wednesday August 15th.

Talk soon!

24 thoughts on “I’m about to travel around ALL of France: What should I see and who should I meet?

  1. Vaisyla Romaine is lovely, many Roman ruins and a great market. Near Orange and a big Roman theatre that is fabulous. Near some smaller wine towns whose names are now escaping me. Enjoy your travels and congratulations.

  2. Hi Oliver
    We live in Rouzède in Charente. We have a spare room if you need accommodation during your trip.
    Our suggestion is for you to visit Angoulême en route.
    Angoulême is famous for its bande-dessinée. Many of the city buildings have amazing BD artwork on them. In January each year there is a huge BD festival with artists visiting from all over the world. All the street-names are in cartoon speech bubbles and there is a bust of Hergé in the town.
    We have a BD museum and a paper museum because the area was very famous for the production of paper and the Charente river which runs through the city was used for producing and transporting the paper.
    In mid-September we have a vintage car race which takes place on the ramparts of the old city.
    You could also take the opportunity of buying yourselves some Charentais slippers, which are the best in the world.
    We are situated about 30 km from Angoulême (40 minutes) and we are happy to offer you a place to stay

    1. That’s very kind of you Hazel, how lovely. Maybe we could be in town for the car race, which is about the time we’d be passing through anyway. Put a pair of those slippers on reserve for me, I’m on the way! (but seriously, I might just take you up on that spare room, thanks a lot!)

  3. Drive your scooter (carefully) along the Grand Corniche above Nice towards Monaco. Staggeringly beautiful views and you can pretend you are Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn. The old town of Antibes is lovely, cosmopolitan but still very French, especially the Provencal market. There is a man there ( if he hasn’t blown himself up yet) who makes delicious and cheap socca in possibly the most dangerous wood-burning oven on the planet- a home-made affair on a trailer still attached to the back of his car. We have found the tourist offices very helpful at ringing round late afternoon and getting cheap deals in good, sometimes excellent hotels.The yachts should still be in harbour before they depart for the Caribbean, and yacht crew are ( usually) great company. You need to stay in a wonderful hotel at least once if this is your honeymoon, and the French Riviera is the place to do it.

    1. Excellent tips, and I especially like the idea of pretending to be Cary Grant. Will investigate this man and his oven and get back to you! And I agree about the hotel room, will do it!

  4. Ile de ré is an absolute must! So beautiful and a perfect place to recharge.
    Otherwise I love the small town of Rotheneuf in the north of brittany, spent many weeks there as a child since som relatives of mine have a house there 😊. Watch the tide and maybe take a little walk and pick oysters on the exposed cliffs!
    Maybe in the way back stop by Annecy to see the beautiful lake and mountains 😊
    Have a great trip!

  5. Rocamadour is a lovely place, and if you want to delve deep in the bowels of the earth you have the gouffre de Padirac not fr from there.

  6. off the coast of Cannes I really enjoyed a day trip on the ferry to the Isle de Leyrens. Also, are you familiar with Couchsurfing. I use their app for free accommodations in France sometimes. Happy Honeymoon.

  7. L’abbeye Foutrevard in the Loire is fabulous. If you want to splash out on a fancy dinner, the restaurant there is to die for. Stay the night and wander the beautiful, haunting old monastery buildings. Très belle!

  8. Bonjour!
    Voici mes recommandations: Rouen – (switch to English) – Abracadabrant – a superbe B&B in the Vieux Quartier of Rouen, with M. Aunay, unique and amazing! Let me know if you need email. In Loire Valley, you must visit Tours, taste Rodolpe Le Meunier’s fabulous cheeses at the market Sat. and stay at the Chez Alphaize. I have this email also. In Charente, Domaine de Rennebourg is louunforgettable… you lived in the 18th century with their fabulous antiques. In Chateauneuf-du-Pape, please stay at Gites Melchor (yes, I also have email). Hope this helps. Talk French as much as possible, It’s truly the best diplomacy you can do! Liza

  9. st paul de vince outside nice just a magical little village with this incredible restaurant chock full of great art. I recall they were gifts from the artists when they were struggling As a podcast it would be great if you could find the owner at the time to speak to the collection how it evolved and what it means to his patrons and the town of st paul today

      1. So much fun to do, Olivier, and to see others’ comments! Adrian, I’ll let you know when can travel (next appt is this Wed.!) Bisous,Liza

  10. Bonjour Lina & Oliver, Congratulations!! Your visit to Verteuil-sur-Charente caught my eye. Then Hazel suggested a visit to Angoulême, definitely a great idea! Between A. and Hazel’s Rouzède to the East is Château de La Rochefoucauld, another one of these amazing Le Rochefoucauld family châteaux. We took some American friends there recently and they loved it. If you continue West from Angoulême you’ll hit Cognac after about an hour. Well worth a visit! I do have a podcast idea involving cognac … Anyway, we live in Cognac and would be happy to offer you our chambre d’amis for the night. Close to us is the town of Saintes, Charente-Maritime. Currently, there are activities to celebrate the 2000-year anniversary of their Gallo-Roman arc d’honneur called Arc de Germanicus. Roman antiquities are an everyday thing in Saintes! Perhaps till soon.

    1. Thanks so much Claudia – sounds to me like cognac completes the triangle – see you in September I hope. It all sound so lovely down there!

    1. Hi Claudia, I’m really disappointed, I totally forgot you’d offered us a place in Cognac 🙁 We stayed in the lovely Chateau de Breuil. Next time! Thanks for the offer, sorry I didn’t make it!

  11. I’m disappointed too, but heck, who can compete with a château! Love your shoe-scraper angle of our proud town 🙃 and wishing you a continued fun honey moon journey.

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